Local Authorites speak out on drug addiction for “International Overdose Awareness day”


The fight against drug overdoses remains an uphill battle in the state and in Winnebago County, where more people are dying from it.

Annually, on August 31 st people across the globe come together to commemorate “International Overdose Awareness Day.”

Friday authorities  across the Stateline took the day to speak out against the dangers of addiction.
Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz is all too familiar with overdose related deaths in the Stateline.

He says so far this year there have been 95 of them, and 26 in the last month and a half alone.

“We’re averaging 4 overdose deaths a week.  It’s ridiculous.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Hintz adds people who die from overdoses aren’t dying from just one drug.

“In the last couple of years we’ve started to see the trend where our doctor is having to put two or three different drugs as the overdose.”  

The Rockford Fire Department is also seeing its fair share of overdose calls.
They say it’s common to respond to 5 to 10 of them a day, to date they’ve handled 443 calls for help.
The Rockford Fire Department follows up those victims within 24 to 48 hours and offers help through the “Knock and Talk Program.”
Brian Park is the Mobile Integrated Health Manager is part of the program and says it’s a crucial part of their job.

“we talk to them about treatment plans, we talk to them about getting help, we talk to them about any sort of therapy, medication assisted therapy things like that. and we also train them and their families if they’d like on how to use Narcan nasal spray.”

He adds the department has conducted hundreds of “Knock and Talks” but about only two dozen have accepted the help.

Craig Stallings the administrator of Adult Substance Abuse Treatment at Rosecrance says the non-profit has seen an increase in individuals seeking treatment for addiction over the last year.

“This location here we have 97 beds annually [and] we probably treat about 1,500 people in residential services.”

He adds that he believes many more people out there are refusing to get help.

“I think  it is important that people understated that there is help, help is available.”

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